Alarm Policing in Nigeria Unhealthy for Crime Control
It’s a golden principle that “prevention of diseases is better than cure”. This statement goes a long way to say that we need to be proactive in life rather than reactive. Pro-activity here denotes the act of exhausting all efforts to halt an imminent occurrence. Reactivity on the other, is the process of making an effort to contain and/or control the occurrence or damage which is known in our local parlance as “medicine after death”.
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It baffles me to see that people have become slaves to their immediate environment as they cage themselves in the house with iron bar protector, which was originally meant to prevent prisoners from gaining freedom. This is as a result of the loosed ends of security apparatus in the Nigerian society which has inflated crime overtime. What is the Nigerian Police doing about this? At the same time, there is a large and sophisticated security network around the political class, protecting their homes and providing cover for their children. Yet, the security of the common man is left to his fate.
In some cities across Nigeria, commercial activities boom 24 hours daily. Unfortunately, this is not the case in in Calabar, capital of Cross River State, where shop owned are being forced to close their shops as early as possible for fear of ‘Nditoh Inoh’ (armed robbers). And I keep on asking what the Nigerian police is doing? The percentage of persons engaged in perpetrating ills is far lower than the entire population of the country. So, the police has what it takes to make our society crime-free, if they want to do so.
The prologue of this piece earlier suggested pro-activeness to mean the act of preventing a thing from happening and re-activeness as the process of trying to control an event that has already taken place. The Modus Operandi of the Nigerian police is captured in one of these categories which is the reactive alternative. Now that they’re always at the point of reacting, why can’t they react to situations of crime appropriately and in a timely manner?
First, they arrive late at the scene of an incident after a distressed call might have been forwarded to them hours earlier. Secondly, when the damage is already done and the criminals might have performed their biddings satisfactorily, instead of the police to go after these criminals tactfully, they arrive blowing their siren. This is almost like a statement to say to the criminals, “Look, we are coming to you with trouble”. This gives the criminal ample time to get away. Perhaps the police are far more concerned about their lives, and then, they think of their families, with their meager salaries not being enough motivation to risk their lives.
Police could be seen as lacking professionalism in the discharge of their lawful duties. Alarm policing is absolutely not the right approach to crime control. It is rather disguising crime control and giving the criminals a leeway to further indulge in crime. I think while the western police use alarm in chasing after criminals is because of the security cover they provide almost around every neighbourhood which has made it not too easy for criminals to evade arrest in such places. I think such security network is what we need.
In order to achieve a safer environment for the people to thrive, the police need a simple strategy and a touch of professionalism. The simple strategy here is simply mounting a mini security post in every nook and cranny of the crime prone areas of the metropolis. They should limit the use of siren and alarm in trying to curb crime.
2017 Immediate Outgone Student
Department of Mass Communication
Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH)
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